Why do cats require your attention when you are busy?

Why do cats require your attention when you are busy? I think the question is slightly misconceived to be brutally honest and a based on human thought projection. Pet owners can tend to project their thoughts onto their companion animals in trying to interpret their behaviour. These are my views. I am open to a different interpretation.

Cat wants attention from human
Cat wants attention from human. Photo in public domain
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Domestic cats don’t look at their human guardian and think, “My heavens, my human companion is busy today. I must go up to her and interfere with what she’s doing!”

Domestic cats go up to you whenever they feel like it. That moment may be when you are busy and it might not be. If your cat always comes up to you when you are busy it is probably because you are busy a lot of the time. It is normally a question of coincidence in my opinion. If they come up to you when you are on the computer it is mainly because the computer and you are both warm!

A normal scenario might be that a domestic cat desires some contact with their human companion and has done so for a little while. Her “owner” has been busy and shows no interest in her domestic cat. The cat therefore goes up to her, not because she feels rejected or is necessarily seeking attention but because she wants some human contact. The classic argument to this question will be that the domestic cat is seeking attention i.e. is an attention seeking cat and therefore a bit of a nuisance. I don’t subscribe to the idea.

I do not think that this is an example of a domestic cat feeling rejected by a lack of attention from their owner. I don’t think domestic cats feel rejected like that. They are quite sociable despite being solitary animals but they don’t have that vulnerable need that humans have of being needed. Humans are more likely to be needy than cats. And sometimes humans project their needy thoughts onto their cat.

Seeking attention is simply another, poorer away, of describing a cat who often wants to be next to and in contact with their human companion, which is a good thing. The more a cat wants to be close to their human companion the more likelihood it will happen when the human is occupied.


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